Why Reading is Important
I remember when I was a child, I would stay up late reading. My parents would have to constantly come in and tell me to put my books away and go to sleep. I was struck with a love for reading a very early age.
I am so happy to see that this seems to have been passed down to my eight-year-old son. That kid always seems to have a book in his hand. He absolutely loves to read. Some of this may simply be genetic (my wife is a voracious reader as well) but I also think it is because I made sure to read to him starting when he was just an infant.
Experts say that reading with your kids even at a very early age gives them a head start to understanding the world and stimulates their imagination. It helps them develop their language and listening skills. A study released in 2017 from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that research shows that reading books with an infant can boost vocabulary and reading skills 4 years later. This is just in time for them to start elementary school. I can certainly see this at work with my son, who has no shortage of both imagination and vocabulary. Last night, he was talking about his favorite action figure and was noting this good “articulation” of all his joints. That is a pretty good word for an 8-year-old.
It seems that the only challenge with him has been to keep new books in his hands. We need to get him a library card. We subscribed to the children’s book app, “Epic!”. It is a fantastic app with seemingly unlimited books for kids of all ages. It has been a little hard to get him used to turning pages on the tablet instead of a “real book”, but he is getting the hang of it.
Now, I just need to focus on my 5-year-old daughter. She hasn’t caught the reading bug like my son has. She still loves me to read to her every night but hasn’t taken the initiative to start reading like my son did at her age.
Even though, when bedtime arrives, I am exhausted from whatever the day has presented me with, it is imperative that I take time to read to her. Honestly, this usually turns out to be my favorite part of the day. These are fleeting moments that we just won’t get back and won’t be able to duplicate later. This is another reason reading with your kids is so important.
At this point, my son would rather just read his books by himself and doesn’t really want me to read with him. Experts say that even after your child starts reading by himself, you should still read books in their interest level but beyond their reading level. This will promote further growth.
They also say you should read to your children separately if they are more than two years apart. But also, sometimes spending reading time with your children together can be beneficial even if they are further apart in age. Often times, my son hears me reading one if his favorites from when he was younger and wanders in to hear it again. Sometimes, he even reads it to his sister. As a parent, this is a pretty great thing to watch and it is a good example being set for my daughter.
The Importance of Reading With Your Kids
Throughout the day, your child gets swept up in a whirlwind of reality. This could the baby sitter, school, or their friends in the backyard. Many of these experiences they don’t have much control over. All these events help shape their learning and understanding of the world. They will take these lessons and apply them to their experience for the rest of their lives. This is just part of living the human experience.
But, at the end of the day, we have the opportunity to pump the breaks a little bit. We can let our child experience a couple minutes of wonder and learning of their own choosing. I love to watch my daughter decide what book she wants to read that night. I wonder what is going on in her head when she is picking one out?
Reading a book before bed provides our children with a safe, cozy learning environment while subtly pushing their boundaries and imagination. It is, the most important thing you can do with your child before bedtime (other than brushing teeth!).